F-16 Fighting Falcons Look Locked, Loaded, and Ready

Almost all of the photos we get from the U.S. Air Force (USAF) show military aircraft in their natural environment, which would be the sky. The majority of these pics are somewhat artistic and focus on highlighting the shape of the aircraft, their capabilities, or even the surroundings. USAF pics rarely focus on weaponry, because, well, that's a sensitive topic.
F-16 Fighting Falcons at Cope North 22 22 photos
Photo: USAF/Tech. Sgt. Matthew Lotz
F-16 Fighting Falcons at Cope North 22F-16 Fighting Falcon over U.S. Central Command area of responsibilityF-16 Fighting Falcon over the Nevada Test and Training RangeF-16 Fighting Falcons chasing KC-135 StratotankerF-16C Fighting FalconF-16 Fighting FalconF-16C Fighting Falcon taking off from New JerseyAggressor Squadron F-16 Fighting Falcon taking offRoyal Moroccan Air Force F-16Royal Moroccan Air Force F-16Royal Moroccan Air Force F-16Royal Moroccan Air Force F-16Royal Moroccan Air Force F-16Royal Moroccan Air Force F-16Royal Moroccan Air Force F-16Royal Moroccan Air Force F-16Royal Moroccan Air Force F-16Royal Moroccan Air Force F-16Royal Moroccan Air Force F-16F-16 Fighting Falcon in Operation Inherent ResolveF-16 Fighting Falcons over Niceville, Florida
Either by accident or on purpose, given all that’s going on in the world, the American military included in its last week’s release of images the photo we have here, depicting three F-16 Fighting Falcons. It shows the fighter jets as they were back in early February, when they were flying as part of the Cope North 22 exercise that took place over the Pacific Ocean.

That would be “a trilateral exercise bringing American, Australian and Japanese forces together to test capabilities, enhance readiness skills and improve interoperability,” according to the American military.

All three airplanes belong to the 14th Fighter Squadron,  a unit first established in 1942 and presently stationed at the Misawa Air Base in Japan. They all seem to have gone out for the exercise loaded with missiles and pods of various uses, as seen in the main photo of this piece.

Each Falcon can be an impressive weapons’ platform. They are equipped with multi-barrel cannons and external stations that can hold anything from air-to-air missiles, air-to-air and air-to-surface munitions, and electronic countermeasure pods.

As far as missiles and bombs are concerned, each plane can pack stuff like 2,000-pound bombs, an assortment of AIM-9 and AIM-120 missiles, but also two 2400-pound external fuel tanks to help them increase their range, officially rated at more than 2,000 miles, or 3,219 km.

As for the Cope North 22 exercise, it saw a wide range of aircraft taking part, including E-7A Wedgetail, C-27J Spartan, and F-35A Lightning II deployed by the Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF).
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Editor's note: Gallery shows various other F-16s.

About the author: Daniel Patrascu
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Daniel loves writing (or so he claims), and he uses this skill to offer readers a "behind the scenes" look at the automotive industry. He also enjoys talking about space exploration and robots, because in his view the only way forward for humanity is away from this planet, in metal bodies.
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